Permission to re-roof please!

I always thought that tiled Mediterranean rooftops were rather appealing . . . but then I’d never lived underneath one before.  The tiled roof on our single-storey finca in rural Mallorca looked in decent enough condition but, when the monsoon-like rains of our first autumn arrived, we discovered there was a leak up there somewhere – in the vicinity of the chimneypot. Sooty streaks of rain ran down the lounge wall, like mascara runs on the cheeks of a stroppy supermodel.

We engaged a local builder to repair the roof, and two sprightly Moroccans were soon up there with a bucket of cement, assuring us that they’d solved the problem. We had no leaks for a while but no rain either. When the heavens next opened, we called the builders again.

We sought advice from Lorenzo, a Mallorcan farmer nearby. He shrugged his shoulders and told us that leaky roofs were the norm here. “Almost every finca has a leaky roof,” he sighed. “You’ll get used to it.”

To some extent, we did. At the first sign of rain, a bucket would be deployed. But over the years, new leaks have appeared in different rooms and when we have a serious storm, it’s become a bit like living under a colander. Depending on the wind direction when it rains, drips could be landing on the bed (my side, natch), the kitchen floor, dining room table, and other locations around the house. Once, in the middle of the night, I had the surreal experience of water dripping steadily onto my head as I sat in the bathroom having a pee. Where’s the umbrella when you need it . . .?

Supply of buckets exhausted, this spring we decided that, despite the horrendous cost, we’d have to have the whole roof re-done. After all, it had been 20 years since it had been completely re-done by the finca‘s previous owners. All tiles would be removed, a layer of insulation added (there’s none up there now) and concrete laid, before the original tiles were replaced. Our finca is sited in an Area of Special Environmental Interest, so we were obliged to apply for planning permission – even though the refurbished roof will look pretty much the same as it does now.

That was three months ago. Then, last week, we heard some news. Having received all the necessary papers with our application, our local ayuntamiento now wanted an aerial photograph of the roof before making their decision.

August will be here soon and many local construction workers will be on holiday for the month. Looks like we’ll be buying more buckets . . .

Jan Edwards ©2012

Roof in urgent need of repair!

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